June 2019: A Belgian, a Canadian and 5 Americans walk into the Hard Rock Café in Vegas…

What comes next is not a punchline, but an amazing connection that has forever changed my life.

Connection. Humans thrive on it, yet we have so little of it in modern society. Most of us have 100s of Facebook friends we don’t even know. And we spend most of our day with our head buried in our phone rather than our eyes up looking around. We collect ‘friends’ that have no meaning in our lives and that’s pretty sad.

Man, I’ve been there though. Throwing my business card at someone and grabbing theirs under the guise of ‘networking’; hoping and praying that somehow, I’ve made some sort of impression upon them that will bring me a positive result in the future.

I’ve collected a box full of business cards and I have no idea who most of the people are. So, I don’t network anymore, I only connect. And to do that, I’ve borrowed a line from legendary strength coach Megan Young, “Tell me your story. Don’t leave anything out!”

Back to the #smallprintcrew.

ISSN 2019 was held in June on the blazing hot (and I mean BLAZING) Las Vegas strip. I didn’t do much venturing out of the hotel other than after the sun went down. On Friday night of the conference, I made plans with a couple people I already knew to meet up for dinner. Of course, my girl Wendi was on time and our friend Rick rolled in only 30 seconds late. We just needed Scott Forbes to show up and we were ready to roll. But then they all started talking about waiting for Kamil, Garett and Scott Stevenson.

“Tell me your story. Don’t leave anything out!” -Megan Young

Excuse me? Who are these people and why are we waiting for them when my stomach is digesting its’ own lining? Tick-tock, the clock kept sweeping by and 25 minutes later we had our complement of humans. I was starving to death, but boy am I so glad we waited.

Wendi Irlbeck. Wendi is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a M.S in Food and Human Nutrition and a specialty in sports nutrition. Since ISSN 2019, Wendi has made BIG moves in her career. She is highly sought after for public speaking engagements, clinics and seminars. She uses her expertise in nutrition, fitness and overall health to service a wide range of clients ranging from sports performance to weight loss. The best part? Wendi uses evidence-based nutrition to guide her clients as well as her followers on social media where she is highly active.

Scott Forbes. The Canadian. If you’ve been hanging around the FireSQFitness blog for more than a minute, you’ve likely read Scott’s guest blog on creatine. If not, click here. Scott is a PhD and holds a position at Brandon University in Manitoba where he churns out research at a pace that amazes mortal humans. I’ve had the honor of watching Scott lecture to his students and he’s a gift to his university. They’re lucky to have him and his students love his energy.

Rick Buehn. Rick is an exercise physiologist for Homestead Air Reserve Base. He manages and tests the fitness of the installation and regularly consults on nutrition needs and improving performance on testing procedures. He is a proponent of healthy behavior including his triad of fitness, nutrition and sleep principles. He also serves as the base health and wellness coordinator. Rick is a CSCS and CISSN and a top-notch human being.

Garett Serd. Garett showed up wearing a t-shirt that stated: “I love Jesus and Pancakes”. Garett is like a cartoon character—a Tasmanian Devil is my best description. And g is one of the kindest humans I’ve ever met, not to mention being a top fitness and nutrition coach to not only general population clients, but physique competitors. g is a Registered Dietitian and a certified personal trainer and owns Tandem Nutrition. I can only aspire to the level of energy and passion that he brings to the table every day.

Scott Stevenson Jr. Scott is by far the quietest person in the bunch, but I wasn’t fooled. He is a powerhouse of knowledge and passion. He’s also amongst the most adventurous people I’ve ever met. He travels extensively and runs his own personal fitness coaching business from the road. He’s also a successful physique athlete and casually runs marathons for fun. I want to be Scott when I grow up!

Kamil Celoch. The Belgian. I was blown away by his kindness AND his knowledge of fitness, nutrition and the research that supports it all. I will forgive him for his terrible taste in steak because he’s such an awesome human. (well done?!?!?!?, Really???) And even though English is his second language, he makes the best subtle wordplay jokes of anyone I’ve ever known. Kamil uses his ability to translate research in sports nutrition, strength and conditioning, nutritional neuroscience, DNA sequencing and anti-aging into effective strategies to help his clients. In short, he’s way too smart for his own good!

We wandered around the Las Vegas strip attempting to find a suitable food destination and finally Kamil took charge and decided on the Hard Rock. Two hours went by in an instant while we laughed so hard we cried and shared our hearts and souls. Luckily at one point, our server was kind enough to snap a picture of our booth and the next day I posted it to my Instagram stories with everyone’s handle on it. In order to fit all the names on the photo I had to make them REALLY small. And Kamil dubbed us the Small Print Crew.

The small print crew truly connected that night and we stay in touch to this day. Because of forging a true friendship with Scott Forbes, I’m now also connected with his colleague Joel Krentz and I recently went to Canada and had the honor of presenting to their students and staff. After that the three of us traveled to Regina to watch Wendi wow the attendees at a Nutrition summit. Scott Forbes has appeared on Garrett’s Facebook live session and I flipped pancakes sans spatula on Facebook due to Garrett’s urging. And next week I’m meeting up with Scott Forbes and Kamil in Florida at the first annual Neurosports conference. I’m excited to see their respective presentations and poster sessions and I truly can’t wait until next June when the entire crew is all reunited at ISSN 2020.

Connection with other humans means everything. I’m grateful for the small print crew and I cherish every one of them.

Tell ME your story. Don’t leave anything out.